PRESS RELEASE – The Government and People of Saint Lucia have suffered a great loss with the passing of poet and playwright Sir Derek Alton Walcott, KCSL, OBE, OCC.
Prime Minister of Saint Lucia Honourable Allen Chastanet has on behalf of the Government and People expressed deepest condolences to the Walcott family, friends and members of the literary fraternity.
Sir Derek Walcott, winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1992, passed away on the morning March 17th 2017 following a prolonged illness at his home in Saint Lucia.
In a statement to the media this morning, Prime Minister Allen Chastanet said: “Today is a very historical day with the passing of Sir Derek Walcott. He is a household name in Saint Lucia. When everyone speaks about excellence and describes Saint Lucia with any form of superlative, clearly the two names that stand tall in Saint Lucia’s history is that of Sir Arthur Lewis and Sir Derek Walcott. It has become customary for us to see Sir Derek and know that he was there all the time. He made himself so available and participated in so many national events here in Saint Lucia and continued to fly the flag very high.
“I know it is very difficult for his family right now,” the Prime Minister said. “My deepest sympathies go to his partner, Sigrid, Derek’s family and his children. And to all the people who have collaborated with Derek over the years, particularly here in the Caribbean. Derek truly was a Caribbean patron. He was always very consistent and very emotional about being Caribbean and original. It is a great loss to Saint Lucia. It is a great loss to the world.”
Prime Minister Chastanet called on the people of Saint Lucia to reflect on what Sir Derek had given us as a people and to celebrate his work.
“We can now look back on his achievements which are so incredible,” said the Prime Minister. “He has made all Saint Lucians very proud and Caribbean people very proud.”
Prime Minister Chastanet has ordered that all flags in Saint Lucia be flown at half mast until Tuesday. He said that the Government is in discussions with the family and the artistic fraternity in Saint Lucia on tributes that will be paid to “this icon of a man.”
Said the Prime Minister: “It is with a heavy heart that we all express our deepest sympathies and appreciation at the same time.”
Derek Walcott was born on 23rd January 1930 in Castries.